About Hollander's - A Brief History

On July 7, 2020, after 30 years in the Kerrytown Shops in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Hollander's has downsized their business to a warehouse location in nearby Ypsilanti, where they are now conducting business only through their website. 

Hollander’s was started and is owned by Tom and Cindy Hollander. They began their business out of their home in 1986 and opened their Kerrytown store in 1991. Over the years their business grew from their basement to a 200 square foot starter store, to at one point, over 14,000 square feet and three full floors in the historic Godfrey Building in downtown Ann Arbor.

Over the years, Hollander’s became nationally recognized as a leading source for unique decorative papers and book cloths (with over 2,500 in stock), as well as a major source of hand-bookbinding tools and supplies. In addition they also established an extensive program of book and paper art workshops, Hollander's School of Book and Paper Arts, which they began in 1993.  

Along with decorative papers, bookbinding supplies, and workshops, Hollander's was for many years considered Ann Arbor's premier stationery store with a large collection of greeting cards, journals, address books, gift wrap, ribbon, and many unique gift items.  

Here is a short video of Hollander's Kerrytown store which was filmed in 2014. For more about Hollander's history over the years, continue reading below.

The History of Hollander's 

1960’s and 1970’s – Tom learned book and box making from his mother, Annette Hollander, who developed a small craft business called Bookcraft in Hamden, Connecticut. Cindy grew up enjoying all arts and crafts and had a special passion for interior design and stationery products.

1986 – Living in Ann Arbor, Tom and Cindy decided to start a similar book and box making craft business from their home, which gradually grew into full-time jobs for both of them. They mostly sold their handcrafted book, box, and desk accessories at local and Midwestern art fairs.

1991 – Tom and Cindy opened a retail store named Hollander's, located on the second floor of the Kerrytown Shops Market Building in downtown Ann Arbor. From this very small 200 square foot space, they sold their unique decorative paper covered products handmade in their home.

Upstairs Store in Kerrytown1992 – Hollander's expanded into a larger 500 square foot space across the hallway where they began selling decorative papers and bookbinding supplies used in their craft. They also began adding stationery products.

1993 – Tom and Cindy started offering store demonstrations of their craft. They attracted the attention of several local book and paper artists who also participated in various demonstrations. 

1994 – As community interest grew, they decided to start teaching one and two day workshops in their store. Later they adopted the name Hollander’s School of Book & Paper Arts to describe their class offerings. Along with local instructors, they started offering bookbinding, book arts, paper making, paper marbling, calligraphy, collage, and origami workshops.

1996 – Hollander's was able to expand by adding 900 square feet behind their store front. This enabled Tom and Cindy to move their work studio from their home and expand the school space for teaching workshops.

2000 – A much larger expansion took place when they added 2,500 square feet to their existing store on the second floor of the Market Building. In the process, they substantially grew their decorative paper collection, bookbinding supplies, and stationery products. The first of six Hollander's School of Book & Paper Arts “graduation” ceremonies was held.              

2001 – Another opportunity arose, allowing Hollander's to move their school to the 3,500 square foot basement of Kerrytown's Godfrey Building. Over the next few years, large bookbinding and letterpress equipment was added. More workshops were introduced, bringing to their school nationally recognized instructors from around the country.

                      Downstairs Workshop

2003 – Tom and Cindy founded and partnered with the Kerrytown District Association to start the Kerrytown Bookfest. This event emphasized a very strong book and paper arts component. Over the next 10 years the Bookfest grew into a major fall event in Ann Arbor and continues today. The Farmers' Market, located adjacent to Hollander's store, was filled with a multitude of book and paper arts booths and demonstrations.

2004 – Hollander's continued their expansion and relocated their upstairs retail store to the newly vacant 5,000 square foot location on the ground floor of the Godfrey Building. Ideally, it was directly above their workshop and school space. The store front was modified to connect the two floors. In the much larger retail store, they soon became recognized as an anchor store in the Kerrytown Shops and one of the country’s premier paper stores. 

Don Etherington - American Academy of Bookbinding  

2005 – Hollander's formed a partnership with the American Academy of Bookbinding, a professional bookbinding school based in Telluride, Colorado. Through AAB, they began offering intensive one and two week long workshops in advanced bookbinding, book repair, and paper conservation. These classes were taught by world renowned instructors, including Don Etherington and Monique Lallier.

2006 – Tom and Cindy celebrated their 15th year in business at Kerrytown. Hollander’s school grew to offering over 60 workshops a year with nearly 1,000 students attending their workshops annually. Classes filled quickly and the school attracted participants from around the country.  

2009 – When an opportunity to expand again presented itself, Tom and Cindy were ready for a new creative adventure and opened Hollander's Kitchen & Home store directly above their paper store on the second floor of the Godfrey Building.

The two spaces were connected by a large interior stairway which allowed easy access to an extensive selection of kitchenware and home décor items. The space contained a beautiful existing kitchen that Hollander’s utilized to offer weekly cooking classes.  As a result of this new expansion, Hollander’s occupied three full floors and close to 15,000 square feet. 

Hollander's Kitchen and Home Store

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

2010 –  Meanwhile, Tom and Cindy continued to be involved with their craft and wrote and published their first book, Constructing and Covering Boxes. They regularly made their products to sell in the store and often made custom books and boxes for their customers, an aspect of the business they have always enjoyed. Among some of their commissioned pieces were those for Gerald Ford, Stephen M. Ross, and the Arthur Miller family.

2014 – The next four years proved to be challenging for the Hollanders and maintaining a large and complex business proved to be more than they felt they could continue to handle. As a result, Tom and Cindy decided to downsize their business, mainly by closing the kitchen and home store.  

Atrium Room Entrance

2015 – After the closure of their kitchen and home store, the Hollanders implemented new ways to grow and enhance their store’s core offerings. This included adding new lines of decorative papers, card lines, expanded art supplies, and creating attractive merchandise displays. They also completely rebuilt their website, www.hollanders.com, which helped greatly expand their online presence.

2016 – Hollander’s celebrated its 25th anniversary and announced plans to reintroduce their book and paper arts workshops in the fall, which had been on hold for the past couple years. Tom and Cindy also began writing a second book for Schiffer Publishing that focused on both their bookbinding and box making specialties. 

2019 –Tom and Cindy completed their new book, Introduction to Bookbinding and Custom Cases, The same year they also revised a second edition of their original and successful box making book. 

     Kerrytown Entrance on 4th Ave

With their business thriving and the level of work and time required to maintain the current pace, the Hollanders decided they needed a change. It was the most difficult decision they had to make in their 30 years in business. They were not ready to retire, but sought a slower paced work schedule that would allow them to still enjoy various aspects of their business. 

2020 – With a heavy heart, they closed their brick and mortar store amid the Covid-19 crisis, which added to the sadness. They decided to continue their Internet business of selling primarily their decorative papers and bookbinding supplies. In July, they moved their internet-only business to a brand new warehouse building which is located in nearby Ypsilanti.